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The Winners of the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2018


The British Wildlife Photography Awards recently announced the winners of its 2018 contest to celebrate the work of both amateur and professional photographers in capturing the beauty and diversity of British wildlife.

The top prize was won by photographer Paul Colley with his photo “Contrails at Dawn (Daubenton’s Bats)” captured at Coate Water Country Park, Wiltshire.

Colley spent 14 months developing an infrared camera and lighting system to capture the high-speed flight of the bats in darkness. The photo is an in-camera double exposure that captured the bat in the foreground just milliseconds before it caught the insect seen right in front of it.

Since the bats are a protected species, Colley photographed them in the wild with guidance from the Bat Conservation Trust and Natural England.

“No other image in my portfolio had been so clearly conceived and yet so difficult to achieve,” Colley says. “My artistic intent was to capture this extraordinary little bat’s speed of movement and hunting flight path, but the journey to success was littered with disappointing failures. Fortunately, fellow photographers encouraged imaginative experimentation and taught me to anticipate setbacks as a reasonable price for ultimate success.

“In hindsight, I experienced a huge gradient of emotion. There were the lows felt during months of long, cold and exhausting dusk-to-dawn sessions, sometimes waist deep in water and often without getting a single usable image. And then the natural highs of those light bulb moments, when new ideas blossomed, problems were solved and the project inched closer towards the potential to win this exceptional accolade.”

Here are the other top category winners from this year’s contest:

Animal Behavior

Life and Death at the Edge of the World (Great Skua and Puffin), Fair Isle, Shetland, Sunil Gopalan
Bean (Badger), Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, Tesni Ward

Urban Wildlife

Magpie in the Snow (Magpie), Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, Christopher Swan

Wild Woods

Seasonal Overlap (European Beech), Aviemore, Highlands, Scotland, James Roddie


Spectacular Isolation (Mountain Hare),
Cairngorms National Park, Highlands, Scotland, Andrew Parkinson

Hidden Britain

Waiting for her Prey (Nursery Web Spider), Dunchideock, Devon, Andrew McCarthy

Close to Nature

Goose Barnacles (Goose Barnacles), Sanna Bay, Highland, David Bennett

Coast and Marine

Storm Gull (Lesser black-backed gull), New Haven, East Sussex, Craig Denford

Botanical Britain

Kelp Bed at Dawn (Oarweed), Kingsgate Bay, Kent, Robert Canis

12-18 Year Olds

Eye of the Spawn (Common Tadpoles), Walmer Castle, Kent, Ivan Carter, Age 17

Under 12 Years Old

Who Says Bugs aren’t Cute (Cockchafer), Borrowdale, Cumbria, Lucy Farrell, Age 9

You can find all the winning photos and more information about the contest over on its official website.

Image credits: Photographs courtesy the British Wildlife Photography Awards